Winfield, the county seat of Cowley county and one of the important cities of southern Kansas, is located on the Walnut river, the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe, the St. Louis & San Francisco, and the Missouri Pacific railroads, about 40 miles southeast of Wichita. It is an incorporated city with electric street railway, sewer system, fire department, waterworks, broad, well-paved and shaded streets, electric lights, 3 parks, 2 daily newspapers (the Courier and the Free Press, the former also a weekly), flour mills, grain elevators, machine shops, carriage and wagon works, marble works, ice and cold storage plant, department stores, and all other lines of retail establishments, telegraph and express offices, and an international money order postoffice with ten rural routes. This is the seat of one of the best Chautauquas in the country, which is held in Island Park each season. The Southwestern College and St. John's Lutheran College are located here, as is the state institution for feeble minded youth. The armory of the Second regiment of Kansas National Guard is also located here. Aside from the excellent public schools there are St. Martin's School (Lutheran) and a Congregational school. Among the privately owned institutions are the Winfield College of Music and the Central Sanitarium. A live business men's association looks after the general interests of the town. The population in 1910 was 6,700.
Winfield was founded in 1870 and named for Rev. Winfield Scott, a Baptist minister of Leavenworth, who promised to build a church in return for the honor. Before the town company was organized Col. Edwin C. Manning had taken a claim on the site. He was made president of the company and figured prominently in the early growth of the town. He was the first postmaster, the postoffice being established in 1870 and kept in a log cabin where Manning had also put in a stock of goods. It was through his efforts that the organization of the county by the legislature with Arkansas City as county seat was thwarted, and that Winfield became the county seat later in the year. It took until July, 1870, to get the proper titles to the town site so that lots could be deeded. After that the town grew very rapidly for a few months, and hotels, all lines of business, including a bank, were established before the year was out. The first school was taught by Miss Annie Marks. It was paid for by subscription. The first newspaper was the Censor, established in Aug., 1870, by A. J. Patrick. It is said to have been printed on the old Franklin style of press called the Meeker, which was first brought to the state by the missionaries and used at the Shawnee Mission in Johnson county. This press was moved to Lawrence, where it figured in antebellum troubles, later it was used at Emporia and at Cottonwood Falls by Col. Samuel Wood, who sold it to the Winfield parties. In 1872 a $10,000 school building was erected. In 1873 the town was incorporated as a city of the third class and the following officers were elected Mayor, W. H. H. Maris; clerk, J. W. Curns; police judge, A. A. Jackson; treasurer, M. L. Robinson; marshal, C. W. Richmond; attorney, J. M. Alexander. Winfield became a city of the second class in 1879, and was divided into wards. The population was then in excess of 2,000. In 1890 the population was 5,184, and in 1900 it was 5,554. The town is in the midst of a fine farming district and ships great quantities of live stock, grain, produce and dairy products. There is magnesian limestone of good quality quarried in the vicinity and shipped from this point. A great many retired farmers live in the town as well as a large number of traveling salesmen.Pages 925-926 from volume II of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed July 2002 by Carolyn Ward.
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